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From Pastor Kent’s Desk

I’m struck by how closely the words “diversity” and “divisive” resemble each other. But, in point-of-fact, they are radically different. “Diversity” conjures up positive images of things that are different, while at the same time being complementary. Take, for example, Longwood Gardens. Every time we go there, I am struck by the diversity of flora and fauna which grace its grounds.
It’s especially evident this time of year when the gardens are a veritable riot of color, shape, and size. The little plants of spring have developed into something completely out of control! Left to their own devices, they have become mature plants which seem to reach out and grab you—the stuff of wild dreams! I’m sure this is what the Garden of Eden must have resembled when Adam and Eve tended it. God created the garden “good,” a place of harmony and peace which the “first couple” couldn’t fully appreciate.
The word “divisive,” on-the-other hand, tends to connote dis-ease, unsettledness, and conflict. The actions of the “first couple” were divisive, thereby throwing the garden into disarray—the state in which it remains to this very day. As I look around, it seems to me that we’ve come to relish divisiveness. We experience it in our public life, in our religious life, in our work life, in our family life. In a divisive world, diversity is something to be shunned, not celebrated. We’ve become fiercely “tribal” and we’re proud of it. The “other” in our midst has become someone to be feared and avoided lest our values are compromised.
I believe divisiveness is antithetical to the God’s good inten-tions for God’s good world. God created a world rich in diversity, rich in variety. Homo sapiens, above all other species, should have the capacity to create societies in which every member is granted a place at the table, where every member is valued, and where diversity is encouraged not discouraged. Christian community, especially, should exhibit the love and fearless determination to overcome the tribal instincts which seem to be infecting our society. It is love, after all, not fear which binds us together. God’s word to God’s world remains, “Fear Not!” May it always be so.
From Pastor Kent’s Desk
Grace & Peace, Kent

The Chancel Choir Returns:

The Chancel has been silent and empty for the last two months, but that will change when our exceptional Chancel Choir returns from its summer hiatus. Our creative Organist/Conductor, Derek Martin, has planned a marvelous musical feast for us as we celebrate the new Church Year.
Music is integral part of the life of the church and has been so for centuries. Psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs are the primary ways we express our faith as the people of God. Choral music, too, has long-played an indispensable role in the worship life of the church. Across the centuries, our greatest composers have written liturgical music, adding their own unique voices in praise of the Creator. So, welcome back to our Chancel Choir–we’ve missed you! Let your voices resound!

“Short Stories by Jesus” The Enigmatic Parables of a Controversial Rabbi By Amy-Jill Levine

Jesus knew how to tell a story. He knew that to get his message across he needed to relate to the people who gathered to listen–first century Jews—who lived in a very different world than the one in which we live today. In Short Stories by Jesus, author Amy-Jill Levine takes us back in time and explains how original audiences understood Jesus’ parables.
Short Stories by Jesus is a study for all interested adults in our congregation. The study will begin on Wednesday, September 12, at 10:00 a.m. in the Memorial Parlor and will run for six sessions. A Participants Guide is available from Rev. Holmes or may be picked-up in the Church Office during regular business hours. Join us for a time of study and lively discussion around an intriguing topic.